A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD girl from North Berwick is celebrating the publication of her first book, inspired by the seaside.

Alexandra Lawrence, who moved to North Berwick from South Africa last August, came up with the idea of her book, Why Seagulls Love Saturdays, after seeing the birds on her way to Law Primary School.

Her mum Janita told the Courier: “We moved here in August and we have adjusted very well.

East Lothian Courier: Alexandra Lawrence with mum JanitaAlexandra Lawrence with mum Janita

“There have been a lot of issues back in Johannesburg and it is not safe any more. My husband and I have visited Edinburgh before and so we had no hesitation about moving to Scotland.

“When we walk the kids to school we see the seagulls and, growing up in Johannesburg, Alexandra had never seen seagulls before.

“At school they had been doing reading tasks for the kids, to take note of all the things they read in that week.

“She said that seagulls must love Saturdays because there are more people around, and more food, so I said maybe we could write a book.”

East Lothian Courier: Alexandra Lawrence, 7, has published her first book

Janita is also an author, selling more than 70,000 copies of her 28 books worldwide.

Under the name JT Lawrence, Janita’s books have more than 30 million page views on Amazon, with her novel Grey Magic, which follows a modern-day witch accused of murder, earning the author a place on the USA Today bestsellers’ list in 2020.

Her other successful book series include Blood Magic and Cursebreaker, both of which share the same fantasy universe.

Janita helped Alexandra, a P3 pupil at Law Primary, put her book together, working with her daughter on ideas and providing the illustrations for her.

East Lothian Courier: The book details many reasons why seagulls love Saturdays

While the setting of the self-published book is not mentioned, Janita said it was heavily inspired by North Berwick.

She said: “The ideas were all Alexandra’s; I just helped put it together and bring it to life a bit.

“I am fortunate enough to have a bit of experience in self-publishing books and in sorting illustrations. I’ve never worked on a children’s book before and Alexandra managed to use her imagination for it.”

Alexandra’s book, which she has dedicated to her teacher Mrs Ailsa Kellagher, is now available on Amazon in paperback and hardback, with 19 copies sold already. The book is printed to order and has already received some positive online reviews.

East Lothian Courier: Alexandra with a paper copy of her book

One reader said: “Very few authors are published at the age of seven, so Miss Lawrence can feel very proud of this achievement. A sweet, adorable book, which made me laugh – I loved it. And the illustrations are perfect too.”

Alexandra lives at Rhodes Park with her mum, dad Michael, and older brothers James, 11, and Robin, nine.

She used some of the royalties from her book to buy a pug teddy bear.

East Lothian Courier: Alexandra Lawrence, 7, with her digital bookAlexandra with her digital book

And Janita said she, along with Alexandra, was already planning more books in the future.

She added: “If seagulls love Saturdays, we figured monkeys must love Mondays! I am sure there will be more books in the future.

“I am currently working on book seven in my short story collection, Sticky Fingers.”

Sally Penman, acting headteacher at Law Primary School, said: “We are very excited about the publication of Alexandra’s book. 

"She brought the draft in as part of her literacy homework before Christmas and shared it with her Primary 3 class.

"Her teacher, Mrs Ailsa Kellagher, was so impressed that she suggested it should be made into a book. The class were amazed when Alexandra brought in the published book last week and it has inspired them all. 

"Mrs Kellagher is very touched that Alexandra chose to dedicate this lovely book to her.”